JACK ROSS will be doing everything he can to ensure Aiden McGeady figures in Sunderland’s final pre-season friendly of the summer with little risk.

The Black Cats are short of creativity in the final third and the strikers – without a goal in the friendlies – could do with a player of McGeady’s ilk and it already looks like time is running out for him to help with the season opener against Oxford approaching.

But McGeady has not played since appearing as a substitute in the play-off final at Wembley, and he was still in discomfort having finished the campaign with a foot problem that required surgery.

He was overlooked for both games in Portugal, where they ended without scoring in a goalless draw with Benfica B and a defeat to Belenenses.

But the Irish winger did use the week in the Algarve to work on his rehabilitation and the hope is he will be able to play some part in this Saturday’s friendly with Heerenveen at the Stadium of Light.

That will be the last bit of match action available for McGeady to figure in before the League One opener with Oxford, so he would like to test himself in that game.

Ross knows how important the Republic of Ireland international is to his squad. He was hailed as one of the best players in the division by his peers last season before injury restricted his playing time.

His creativity would be ideal at a time when Sunderland are having to bide their time in their recruitment, with loans from Premier League clubs an option but not struck yet. There isn’t the money available to spend unless more players depart.

Sunderland are also without George Honeyman because of a knee injury and it would be a surprise if he was fit to face Oxford. He has tended to play in one of the roles behind the striker too.

Coventry City boss Mark Robins, meanwhile, has paid tribute to Jordan Willis after he decided to head to Wearside rather than the Championship.

Robins said: “Listen, with Jordan it was always a case of shaking hands at the end of the season because he’s been a fantastic servant and we wished him all the best. It was his prerogative to choose what he feels is the best scenario for himself. And I wish him all the best.”